AAS 99-173

A Study of Perturbation Effects on Space Debris in Supersynchronous Orbits

K.K. Luu*, R.D. Culp**, C. Sabol*

*USAF Research Laboratory, ** University of Colorado


The current debris mitigation measure for the geosynchronous (GEO) region is to boost satellites into supersynchronous orbits (SSO) before stationkeeping fuel is exhausted. Because this solution does not remove mass from space, debris generation by fragmentation events remains a possibility. One concern is the collision hazard between inactive satellites in the SSO region which raises issues regarding the consequences of collisions in this regime and possible interaction with GEO. This paper summarized the methodology and results of an analytical study of perturbation effects and its application to the analysis of collisions in SSO. In particular, the perturbation analysis seeks to evaluate the altitude variations of the fragmentation debris. Validation of these results by numerical analysis is discussed. Preliminary results show that concurrently practiced reorbiting distances above GEO do not isolate debris from GEO after the occurrence of collisions in the storage orbit.